Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday set a new world record for the largest display of oil lamps — 5.51 lakh — at the 'Deepotsav' celebrations in the temple town of Ayodhya. In the grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya, four lakh earthen lamps were lit alone at Ram Ki Paidi while 1.51 lakh lamps were lit at 11 pre-defined places in Ayodhya. This number was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Speaker of Republic of Fiji Veena Bhatnagar and other ministers were present at the event.
Adityanath, who participated in a 'Raj Tilak' programme for Rama at Ramkatha Park and laid the foundation stone for projects worth Rs 226 crore, said India, as a country, has never disturbed anyone. "But if someone pokes us, then a befitting reply is given to them. Today, India is fast emerging as a global leader," he said.
“Previous governments were reluctant to even take the name of Ayodhya and never wanted to come here," he said. "But in my last two-and-a-half year, I have visited Ayodhya more than 18 times. Whenever I visit, I always come with development projects worth crores for the city.”
Adityanath said that the name of Ayodhya immediately brings to mind the concept of 'Ram Rajya'.
"Of the seven pious cities, three of them -- Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura -- are in our UP. No one in the country or in the entire world possess such prosperous and cultural environment. We all feel proud on the tradition of Ram. The name of Ayodhya itself brings the idea of 'Ram Rajya' in our minds," he said.
"Ram Rajya is such a system of governance, in which people are not differentiated on the basis of caste, creed, religion, sect, region and language. In the past five years, implementation of various schemes of the government has been done with commitment. This is an example of modern Ram Rajya," he said, adding that for each follower of 'Sanatan Dharma', Ayodhya is the same sacred place, as other religions have their own.
"Deepotsav is the part of continuing efforts being made towards protecting the sacred site and its dignity. Earlier at Ramji's Paadi, water was dirty and people did not want to take a dip here. Today, water is so fresh here that one wants to take a holy dip. Our attempt is to restore the beauty and dignity of Ayodhya to what it was during Lord Ram's reign," he said.
Adityanath said the development plans in Ayodhya are being taken forward with full energy.
"Today every Indian is filled with positivity under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We have adopted the spirit of 'vasudhaiva kumbakam' We consider the whole world as one large family," he said. "We have never created problems for anyone, but if someone tries to challenge our self-respect, we know how to teach them a lesson. And we are proud about this. India is re-establishing itself as a global guru and a superpower."
Adityanath earlier performed 'aarti' of Sita-Ram and Lakshman. Mahanta Nritya Gopal Das also performed the coronation of deities. Governor Anandiben Patel and Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel were also present on this occasion.
"The festival of Deepawali motivates to fight darkness," said Patel.
A postal ticket on Deepotsav was also released on this occasion.
On Saturday morning, a grand 'shobha yatra' (celebratory procession) of Ram was flagged off by Deputy Speaker of Fiji's Parliament Veena Bhatnagar at Saket College. Meandering its way through various prominent roads of Ayodhya, the procession concluded at Ramkatha Park, the UP government said in a statement issued later. The Shobha Yatra with 11 chariots was welcomed and cheered by excited citizens.
Bhatnagar said she felt honoured and lucky to have participated in Diwali-eve celebration at Ayodhya. "The relationship of Fiji and India are very old. I am very happy for all the love, affection and honour being given by the UP government to me," she said.
(With inputs from PTI)